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NWGA Closing Day – October 30, 2014
Introduction to Guest Speaker by Joanne Walker, President
Guest Speaker – Sarah LeBrun Ingram

Today’s speaker grew up in Maryland, and her first love was horses! But, after a few falls and a broken arm, her parents encouraged her to find a ‘safer’ sport. After playing tennis and golf, she chose a path of golf. By the age of 15, she had won the 1st of three (3) straight Maryland State Girls’ Junior Championships.

 
And during the seven (7) years of 1990 and 1996, Sarah had won more national championships and played on more international teams than any Tennessee golfer in its 100 year history. Although she has many other championship titles, during this timeframe, she was recognized as America’s #1 amateur player: 3 wins – US Women’s Mid-Amateur 5 times played for US in international team competitions 3 Curtis Cup matches 2 World Amateur Team events. No other Tennesseean has played on as many events.

And in 1999, she was inducted into the Tennessee Hall of Fame.
Although she was encouraged to play professionally, Sarah’s choice was to remain an amateur and spend time with her husband and have a family. I truly respect her for her priorities and her choices, and we are so lucky to have her as a Tennessean! Please join me in giving a big welcome to Sarah LeBrun Ingram!
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NWGA Closing Day – October 30, 2014
Speech by Guest Speaker Sarah LeBrun Ingram

Thank you, Joanne, for asking me to speak today.
When Joanne approached me in the spring about speaking to you all, she suggested I talk about my story and my thoughts on Women’s golf. But, since I have largely been out of the golf world for almost 20 years, I don’t have much to draw on. Instead, I thought I might talk to you about how golf has influenced my life... because golf has been good FOR me and golf has also been good TO me... I started playing golf in Baltimore, Maryland when I was 10 and attended Green Spring Valley Hunt Club’s kiddie camp. They had tennis, golf and swimming lessons, among other activities. I used my grandmother’s set of Louise Suggs MacGregor woods and irons and her Mickey Wright putter. When I was 12, my parents said to me that I could be really, really good at either tennis or golf, but not both. So they gave me tennis lessons all that winter and golf lessons the following summer and told me to choose one. I chose golf. It was a good choice because golf has taught me and given me so much.

Golf has been good FOR me. I believe that all of us in this room probably have several similar characteristics ingrained in us that have enabled us to play golf well and have successes in life: determination, perseverance, and the ability to be on our own for hours at a time. Determination and perseverance are the two characteristics I value most in life. I believe that anyone can do anything they put their mind to. My high school yearbook quote was “Nothing is impossible to a willing heart.” I truly believe this statement and it is what I live by. My Dad set the example for determination and perseverance. He was an All American lacrosse player at Washington and Lee, but you would never have believed it if you saw his style. He made it that far through sheer will and determination. He died three years ago and even in his illness and death he persevered.

Golf also helped me gain confidence, become organized and learn humility, all important character traits. My confidence grew as I learned to travel to tournaments on my own at a young age and stay with unfamiliar families. One area where my confidence lacked was in public speaking (still does!). For a while there, I finished second a lot! And I truly believe that part of what was holding me back was worrying about making an acceptance speech! I finally broke through in 1990 after leading the Canadian Amateur by 9 shots going into the last round. I thought that it would be much more embarrassing to lose the tournament after being so far ahead, than to give a speech. Once I broke that barrier, whatever the reason, I won at least one tournament a year from then on. As for humility, we all learn that on the course. You can go along thinking you figured it out...this game is so easy...and then all of a sudden the golf gods strike! I learned organizational skills mostly when I went to Duke and lived on my own for the first time - you have to be organized to go to school, play on a Division 1 athletic team, and also have fun.

My parents were wonderful “sports parents”. Their motto was “Jack of all trades, master of none.” They wanted me to focus on the sport I loved the most and be the best that I could be. They never pressured me, but quietly coaxed me into setting goals and putting in that extra practice session when I wasn’t feeling up to it. There were many times in high school that I missed out on parties or fun events with friends, but my parents always reminded me that my hard work and sacrifices would pay off some day. And, I have to say, they were so right!

So as I said earlier, Golf has been good for me....and it has also been good TO me.
The game has opened many doors in my life. Because of golf, I am well- traveled – having played tournaments in most of the 50 states, Mexico, England, Ireland, Scotland, Canada, France and Italy. When I was young, I wanted to play in the Olympics , but golf wasn’t an Olympic sport. I was able to satisfy that desire by qualifying for three Curtis Cup teams and two World Amateur teams. My team won the 1994 World Amateur in Versailles, France!

I was recruited and played golf for Duke, a university I’m pretty sure I would not have had
the chance to attend had it not been for my talent on the golf course. There, and during my second week of school, I met my future husband, David, who played on the Duke Men’s Golf Team. After I graduated and we married, he brought me back to his Nashville home in the great state of Tennessee, which I absolutely love. And, we have two wonderful sons, Henry and Bronson, who are 19 and 17, respectively. My parents were always there for me, taking me to and watching most of my sporting events, providing love and support, and giving me every opportunity to succeed. Now, I try to do the same for my boys. Their interests are not the same as mine – I don’t have any golfers, really, instead a musician and a young entrepreneur, who both row crew – but I can still give them all that they need to succeed in their endeavors. The most important thing I want for them is to be good citizens.

These days I enjoy doing volunteer work in the Nashville community, particularly with Saddle Up!, a therapeutic horseback riding program that serves children and youth with mental and physical disabilities. I also show horses and play some doubles tennis. All that I learned on the golf course still carries me through my day to day activities.
As I reflect on what golf has done for me and how it has been good to me, I am grateful to my parents for steering me in the direction of golf when I was just 12 years old and for giving me all of the tools I needed to reach my goals. I am also grateful to have met so many wonderful people through golf who have supported me and helped me get where I am today. Coaches, tournament organizers, golf enthusiasts, volunteers, friends, my husband... I couldn’t have done it without their collective efforts on my behalf.
Since it has been 18 years since my last competitive tournament, I really appreciate the opportunity to look back over my career. I cherish every chance I have to remember the excitement of playing for my country, the exhilaration of playing in the finals of the US Amateur, the satisfaction in winning three US Mid-Amateurs, and the fun playing in 8 US Opens. Thank you for thinking of me to help you celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the NWGA.
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GUEST SPEAKER INTRODUCTION by Joanne Walker NWGA
OPENING DAY @ FAIRVUE PLANTATION APRIL, 10, 2014

Our very special guest for today is someone that many in the room may already know. When I first met this lady, she was our Club Champion and known as a very talented golfer. I was always in awe of how far she could hit the ball, but what really impressed me most was her easy, friendly and encouraging spirit. She always made me feel so welcome.


We have all looked up to this lady for her golf achievements, but how did she get there and what does golf really mean to her?


She was brought up in Chattanooga, and moved to Cleveland, TN after graduation. After receiving a BS degree in health, physical education and recreation from MTSU, she worked for Bradley County Schools for 31 years teaching 4th & 5th grades. She retired in 2003. Married to Jim for 39 years, she has one son, Neil, and he and his wife Meredith have two beautiful children, 4 and 1. And if you don’t know how beautiful they are, then just ask their grandmother, because they are the love of her life and she has tons of pictures!


But I guess you could say her other love is golf as she has played around the
state for 42 years. And with her most recent title of 2013 Sr. Women’s Amateur Champion, she now holds the most amateur wins in the State of TN, passing Betty Probasco, a TN Hall of Famer.

Please join me as we welcome our very special guest, Maggie Scott, to hear her story of what golf has meant to her.



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NWGA Opening Day – April 10, 2014 Speech by Guest Speaker Maggie Scott



“Thank God that this wonderful game exists, and that you have the ability to play it.”


First of all, I would like to say that I hope all of you appreciate the opportunity that you haveto be a part of the Nashville Women’s Golf Association. What a great organization having the chance to play with some great players, on great golf courses each week! This offers each of you the opportunity to be the kind of golfer you wish to be. Take advantage of this. I’m jealous. Cleveland needs to grow or I need to move to the Nashville area. I would love to a part of this program.



There are two kinds of golfers: “the serious golfer” who practices more than they play...lots of lonely homework. Then there is “the other 99%” who are there to enjoy the game. They play more than they practice. They do work some on their game because, as we all know, the game is much more enjoyable when we play well.



Saw this little quote—“Golf teaches that although practice does not make us perfect, no practice always makes us imperfect.” Practice what you know you can improve on. Practice chipping and putting, not the long drive. We can only hit it so far. Mine is getting shorter the older I get. But the chipping and putting practice will help you score even with the shorter drive. I do think both groups will benefit from the competition NWGA offers.



One of the things that has helped me I believe is.....Positive thinking – trusting myself. My first experience with golf was with my father. He was a very positive person. From the very beginning, my Dad never thought I hit a bad shot. He could make everything into something positive. Even a shank – he would have something good to say about it. He always pointed out the things I did correctly, not the things I did wrong. I think this gave me the confidence that helped me become a better player.



We always need to be thinking positive. If you don’t think you can hit the ball or make the putt, you won’t. If you think positively that you can, it doesn’t mean you will, but your chances are much better. A great example of this happened a few weeks ago. Paula Creamer made a 79 foot putt with probably 10 foot of break to win the tournament. I promise she was thinking she would make it.



My husband puts it this way: Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, “You are Right”. If your swing thought begins with DON’T, it is not going to result in a good shot. Focus on where you want to hit the ball, not where you don’t want to hit it. TRUST YOURSELF.



Another thing that has helped me is learning never to quit. Don’t give up.



My husband best taught me this lesson. When we first got married, he was a pretty good player. He played for the University of Chattanooga. He would always beat me. At times, I would just quit trying after so many holes—to which he would call me a quitter. I like to think he did this to make me a better player, but at the time it just made me mad enough that I would work at my game so that I could get him the next time we played. I didn’t get to where I could beat him every time, but our matches were a lot closer. I did not quit.



I remember a match I had with Ann Furrow. She won the State Amateur several times...Great Player. Very classy lady – every hair in place – dressed perfectly. Anyhow, Jim surprised me and showed up at the last minute to caddie for me. I was excited until he got out of the car
with no shoes anywhere. At this point, I am embarrassed. What is she going to think when I introduce my husband? My barefoot husband. Finally, we begin our match. We are playing
in Maryville on her home course. It is hot and humid. After two holes, Jim and I could wring water out of our clothes. At this time, I was probably only one down – looking to my caddie for great advice. All my barefoot caddy had to offer was: Maggie, Ann doesn’t even have little bubbles of sweat on her upper lip, and we are melting. How that was to help me, I don’t know. So, in my mind, now I am thinking about my barefoot husband and an opponent who is not sweating, probably not a lot about my golf game.



It seemed that after every hole, whether we won or lost, his comment only involved the fact that Ann still wasn’t sweating. We played on – got to the 12th tee. I am now 7 down with 7 to play. My advice from barefoot caddie is: Maggie, if we lose this hole, we will be close to the clubhouse, and we can just walk on in.



Again, I prefer to believe he said this to get me just mad enough that I would start playing better. He really probably was just ready to walk in. But my thought was that I wanted him to have to carry my bag in the heat for the full 18 holes. And he did. Ann lost her concentration – I started playing. I won the next 6 holes. We tied 18 and I lost one down. It was a win for me. I didn’t quit. Old barefoot caddy walked the full 18.


I am proud to say Jim and I have been married now for 39 years. I also will tell you that I always make sure when he caddies for me that we have shoes in the car.



One other match I played in the State Amateur was against Betty Probasco or “The Betty”
as I call her. This was at Chattanooga Country Club. I had played well all week....was just having fun. It never entered my mind till the final day that I was in the finals until we were standing on the first tee and they announced: Now playing for the Championship of the State of Tennessee. WOW! ME. Is this me – with a cute young caddie – not Mr. Barefoot – playing “THE BETTY”, a legend in Amateur golf.



My nerves immediately kicked in. I believe my tee shot went about 30 yards....lost the first seven holes. OOOPS! The good thing was we played 16 holes before I lost 3 and 2. Didn’t feel like a loser though. Betty told me she knew she had to get off to a good start since she knew I would come back....Great compliment for me from “THE BETTY”.



Don’t quit. Work to hit each shot even when it seems useless. You might be surprised.



One last thing – maybe the most important of all, are the friendships we make playing this wonderful game. For instance, last night I had dinner with five friends I would have never known without golf. When I am in Nashville, Mary Francis always has my room ready for me. Besides a room, she generally has a dinner party. Don’t ever pass up a chance for dinner....can’t be beat.



NWGA gives you the opportunity to meet and make lasting friendships with fellow golfers. People you might never have had the privilege to meet without golf.



I have played in the State Amateur since 1974. I have only missed 3 times: once to marry my barefoot caddie, once for injury, and once to move my mother to assisted living. It had to be something pretty serious to keep me away. I didn’t want to miss seeing all my friends. I didn’t want to miss meeting some new ones. For forty years, I have met prople from Memphis to Bristol. How neat is that!



In the first match in the first State Amateur at old Richland Country Club, I played Beverly Pearce. I felt I was a winner even after losing my match to her. Beverly and I are still close friends today, even after she has put up with me in many four-ball events.



Another match was with Betty Beal in Memphis. I was very disappointed after not making the Championship Flight at Colonial. But, then in my first match I had the honor of playing Betty. What a fun lady! We laughed the entire way around the course. I did win the match, but mostly I made a true friend. Betty and her husband followed me the rest of the week. I was always welcome in their home whenever I was in Memphis. Best joke teller I have ever known.



I remember meeting Nancy Reed, great Nashville golfer. Never played against her, but when the tournament was at Hillwood one year, we spent many hours betting tees on the participants as they came in finishing their rounds. I had never known her before that tournament. Still see her every time I can when I get to play at Richland with Mary Francis.



And everyone remembers Momma Mac, Mac Rucker. I am sure she was big in NWGA.... great, great lady. I loved to hear her talk. Miss very few of her Brentwood tournaments. When I think of Mac, I think of how good she was to one of my students. One of my students had to have a kidney transplant at Vanderbilt. He needed to have a number of pints of blood available at the hospital. His mother came to me and asked if I knew anyone who could help us in Nashville.



I quickly said, “No problem”. I called Mac and there was more blood given for him than he needed. Along with that, her church took him gifts and sent him cards. Not sure he wanted to leave. That is special.



Wonderful folks. Could go on and on naming old friends and many of the newer ones many of whom are right here........



So, I say thank you to the ladies of Cleveland Country Club who took me around to all the invitationals, taught me the rules, taught me etiquette, and taught me how to compete so I could get out and meet so many interesting folks.



Through NWGA, you can have the opportunity to take juniors and help them see the excitement and benefits of playing this game.



Now, I will end with one quote from this book, from the story entitled, “My Best Friend”.
‘I guess the magic of golf isn’t the course, or the swing, or the sound you hear when you hit a solid iron. It’s the feeling you get when you beat your best friend, or lose to her, for that matter. And sooner or later, you realize that you didn’t play every week because you were golfers, you played because you were friends.”

Maggie Scott

NWGA Opening Luncheon, April 2, 2004

 
Speech by Katherine Graham

 
I am very grateful to you for asking me to be here today. It is always an exciting time when it is the first NWGA meeting. Thank you, Cousin Pam, for bringing me. It is a long time since I drove to Old Hickory. Mostly I am grateful to your president for her quote in Tee Times. When commenting on the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame, she said, “one of our own”. I loved that and it is certainly true. I have such fond memories of the playdays in this group. How wonderful a few other than I are sill around and some participating. They honor me by their presence. Thank you.


When I joined this group you had to turn in ten rounds from several different clubs with score under 110! That made you eligible – can you believe it! No quotas as to clubs and GHIN computer generated handicaps. In fact, one of the most difficult jobs was the Handicap Committee as it was all done by hand and no percentages were involved. There were no cards. Caddies were $2.50 each. Play day was Wednesday but that soon changed. No tee times, you just came and played with whomever happened to be at the tee at the time you were. 

 
First golf job I had – other than a club one – was NWGA. But I do not seem to remember what it was. Think I did most of them at some time. And I know that you will not believe me that the two local newspapers were actually anxious to cover the activities of the group. On the sports pages and the so-called Society pages. There were pictures on the course and doing various jobs, like making the pairings. I remember a Pro-Lady at the wonderful old Woodmont Club when I was on the winning team, there was a big picture in the paper the next day and Waxo Green was there to talk to us when we finished. One of my few wins, by the way and it was a team event! Hope all those scrapbooks are still around somewhere.


Think you all realize that I was not a good golfer, but I was fast. On one waited behind my group because I was rushing then to hold our place. I am fortunate to have realized what despite my devotion to and love of the game I was not going to be a skilled player…so I put my energy into trying to bring respect for women’s golf at all levels. I did accept the Tennessee Golf Association honor in October for all the women who gave so much of time, effort, skill, and yes – money for travel, etc. There were a lot of them in all golf organizations --- still are lots of them. Now we have Rules Seminars and good professional help in our state and national golf associations. That was not available a few years ago.


Just a few things about that “big” job – Chairman of the Women’s Committee for the United States Golf Association. It is even bigger now. I was lucky to be there when the group asserted its knowledge and desire and were given the chance to make the Women’s Committee a viable part of golf. And to see the first female President of the USGA and women serving on the Executive Committee now. Judy Bell was that woman – she was kind enough to come in October to make the induction speech – she talked too long by the way. I went to one of the first Rules Schools. It was at the Olympic Club in San Francisco and learned much I did not know. Now you must have at least an 85 on the tough test at the end of three days in order to officiate at a USGA event. Most of my friends here did know what I was doing when I went away in the summer – I was offended one time when I was asked “ did you keep score at the Women’s Open?” I had been a referee.


Just a few of those MOSTS of those times:

Most thrilling – being Captain of the US team for the World Amateur Team Championships in Christ Church, New Zealand and raising the flag for our country (I think that 30 nations participated that year). I teared up a bit when they played our anthem and I lowered the flag when our team won. By the way, the men’s US team did not win. It was also the only time I was ever asked by a really good golfer how to hit a shot. Captains were allowed to give advice to their team members. It customary for the captain to walk down the first hole with each of her team members. Pat Hurst was the amateur champion that year and was the last person to tee off. Pat is very laid back and blasé, but something about being announced last and as the reigning amateur champion of the US, undid her. The flat missed her tee shot, stubbing her club in the ground and the ball trickled about 90 or so yards down the fairway. She was stricken and said, “Captain, tell me what to do.” It was obvious. I simply told her to take as much wood as carried and aim for the middle of the green. She did, got it on, the putt went in and she had a birdie. She calmed down and played her usual splendid game after that.


Tiredest I have ever been – after the longest Women’s Open in history. It was hot enough in New Jersey at Plainfield Club to cause storms and delayed play and the tournament extended a day and then we had a tie – I had done all by duties, plus referring the last group for four days in the heat. Laura Davies, playing in her first pro event in this country, finally won. All this plus being nice to the host club in the evenings in dirty clothes after a 12 hour day on the golf course. That was when Laura – you know how tall she is – ignored me completely and asked for Mr. Boatwright when I told her to take a drop away from behind a grandstand – the drop circle was closer to the green. By the way, Mr. P. J. Boatwright told her to take the same drop that I did – thank goodness. 


Most perplexed I have been was at the very first Mid-Am in Tulsa at Southern Hills when the players kept coming to me and saying “we have a man playing in this tournament”. You have probably all read about sex change operations. To make a long, difficult problem short: this person was a “woman” who had done that and had played as a man, so was very strong. It was like the Renee Richards thing in tennis. Fortunately she did not win, got to the quarterfinals. We had many meetings at the direction of the Executive Committee who wanted our advice about what to do. Lots of money was spent with expert lawyers from all over this country to come up with the simple “Born a female”. It is a very complex and perplexing problem facing women’s golf. No studies have been made about how much muscle strength a man loses with female hormones and the operation. I think that it is sad and must admit that I do not understand it. 

 
Most interesting and exciting: When the first men’s Open was held at Shinicock Hills on Long Island the Women’s Committee was asked to do the registration. It is a real golf club with no women’s organization. We loved it and got our picture made with Jack Nicklaus, Byron Nelson and lunch with us – Tom Watson, Tom Kite, Hale Irwin and all the big names were there. They kidded us and we all had a great time. Having dinner with Ben Hogan was in that same category.


I have been blessed with the privilege of officiating at events in Hong Kong, Venezuela, Canada, Sweden and others. One time I had to have an interpreter when making a ruling.


Most throat tightening – no doubt it was at Royal St. George’s in England when I was Chairman and the Curtis Cup was held there. By the way, the Brits do all their own rulings. I had to speak at the opening and closing ceremonies to all those proper British golfers and fans. Also had to talk when our side lost – I think they understood me when I gave them congratulations and then told our team we had made the right selections for our side and would not change a single member of the group. I am sure they understood me in New Zealand a Christ Church is on the south island!


It has sure been fun – golf makes for deep and long lasting friendships. I treasure them all, those that are still with us and those who are gone. Women’s golf has grown and there is more growth to come. Best of all is the good will Amateur competition makes and we have all been blessed to experience.

 

Thank you again. 

 
Katherine Graham